Falcons loan edges Stringer towards exit
Published 24/02/2012 | 05:00
Peter Stringer yesterday signed another loan deal that could mean the legendary scrum-half has played his last game for Munster.
The 34-year-old joins Newcastle Falcons next month when his current short-term deal with Saracens comes to an end.
He will remain with the English Premiership strugglers until the end of the season, when his Munster deal expires. It appears unlikely that he will be offered a new contract.
It looks as though Stringer is being ushered towards the exit door, continuing a tumultuous week for the province in which head coach Tony McGahan confirmed his intention to leave at the end of the season.
After tonight's Thomond Park clash with Cardiff, McGahan will have a maximum of 12 games left in charge -- if Munster were to make the final of both the Pro12 and Heineken Cup -- to define his legacy at the province.
Tomas O'Leary, another scrum-half who could be on his way this summer -- Perpignan are understood to have tabled an offer -- starts as Munster look to strengthen their position in the top four.
McGahan has made five changes from the side that secured a bonus-point victory against Treviso, as Ronan O'Gara, Donnacha Ryan and Peter O'Mahony are part of Ireland's match-day squad for tomorrow's clash with Italy, with Denis Hurley on standby.
The fifth switch sees Marcus Horan replace Wian du Preez at loose-head prop.
Cardiff will travel with some confidence thanks to two wins over Irish opposition in a fortnight. Gavin Henson starts at inside-centre.
But Munster generally produce strong on-field reactions to off-field turmoil, and they could win with something to spare here.
Munster -- F Jones; J Murphy, D Barnes, L Mafi, S Zebo; I Keatley, T O'Leary; M Horan, D Varley, BJ Botha; B Holland, M O'Driscoll capt; Dave O'Callaghan, T O'Donnell, J Coughlan. Reps: D Fogarty, W du Preez, S Archer, D Foley, P Butler, D Williams, S Deasy, L O'Dea.
Cardiff Blues -- C Czekaj; R Mustoe, G Evans, G Henson, T James; D Parks, R Rees; J Yapp, R Tyrell, S Andrews; C Hill, P Tito; M Paterson, M Williams, M Molitika. Reps: T Rhys Thomas, N Trevett, S Hobbs, M Cook, T Young, L Jones, C Sweeney, B Blair.
Ref -- L Hodges (WRU).
Munster v Cardiff Blues,
Live, RTE 2, 7.05